Blog Archive

View My Stats
Monday, May 27, 2024

Hell For Hire by Rachel Aaron (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

 


Official Rachel Aaron Website
Pre-order “Hell For Hire” over HERE

Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Last Stand Of Mary Good Crow 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “The Battle Of Medicine Rocks:
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Forever Fantasy Online"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "FFO: Last Bastion"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "FFO: The Once King"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Nice Dragons Finish Last"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "One Good Dragon Deserves Another"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "A Dragon Of A Different Color"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Last Dragon Standing"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Minimum Wage Magic"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Part-Time Gods"
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Night Shift Dragons” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “By A Silver Thread”                               
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "The Spirit Thief
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of “The Spirit Rebellion” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of “The Spirit Eater” & “Spirit’s Oath” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of “The Spirit War” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Spirit's End"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Fortune's Pawn"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Honor's Knight"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Heaven's Queen"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's joint interview with Rachel Aaron & Travis Bach
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Rachel Aaron
Read Eli Monpress series completion interview with Rachel Aaron
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Rachel Bach
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Heartstrikers interview with Rachel Aaron
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Second Heartstrikers interview with Rachel Aaron
Read "Why A Nice Dragon" by Rachel Aaron (Guest post)
 
AUTHOR INFORMATION: Rachel Aaron lives in Colorado with her family. She has graduated from University of Georgia with a B.A. in English Literature. She has been an avid reader since her childhood and now has an ever-growing collection to show for it. She loves gaming, Manga comics & reality TV police shows. She also posts regularly on her blog about publishing, books and several other intriguing things.
 

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: The Crew

A hulked-out wrath demon who eats gamer rage and loves cats, a shapeshifting lust demon who enjoys their food a bit too much, and a void demon who doesn’t see the point of any of this. They’re not the sort of mercenaries you hire on purpose, but Bex wouldn’t trust her life to anyone else.

Ever since the ancient Mesopotamian king Gilgamesh decided death wasn’t for him, killed the gods, and conquered the afterlife, times have been rough for a free demon. But the denizens of the Nine Hells aren’t the quitting sort, and Bex and her team have been choking a living out of the Eternal King’s lackeys for years. It’s not honest work, but when Heaven itself declares you a non-person, you smash-and-grab what you can get.

This next gig looks like more of the same…until Bex meets the client.

The Job 
 
Adrian Blackwood is a witch with a problem. His family has skirted the edges of King Gilgamesh’s ire for centuries, but thanks to a decision he made as a child, Adrian is personally responsible for putting his entire coven in Heaven’s crosshairs.

Determined to set things right, Adrian drags his broom, caldron, and talking cat thousands of miles across the country to Seattle where he can fight the Eternal King’s warlocks without bringing the rest of his family into the fray. But witchcraft--like all crafts--takes time, and if the warlocks catch him before his spells are ready, he’s dead. So Adrian does what any professional witch would do and hires a team of mercenaries to keep the warlocks off his back. He didn’t expect to get demons, but when you’re already on the killing-edge of Heaven’s bad side, what’s a bit more fuel on the fire?

Sometimes, you get more than you paid for.
 
Neither Adrian nor Bex knew what to expect when they signed their contract, but witch-plus-demon turns out to be a match made in the Hells. With this much chaos at their fingertips, even impossible dreams start to come back into reach, because Bex wasn’t always a mercenary. She used to be the Eternal King of Heaven’s biggest nightmare, and now that she’s got a witch in her corner, it’s time to put the old magics back on the field and show Adrian Blackwood just how much hell he’s hired. 

FORMAT/INFO: Hell For Hire is 378 pages long divided over eighteen chapters and an epilogue. Narration is in the third person via Adrian Blackwood, Bex & a couple of other characters. This is the first volume of the Tear Down Heaven series.
 
June 4, 2024 marks the e-book, paperback & hardcover publication of Hell For Hire and it is self-published by the author. Cover Art is by Luisa Prei├čler.
 
 
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: A new Rachel Aaron series is a gift and for readers like me, she’s been rewarding us wonderfully for the last fifteen years. This is the eighth new series (ninth if you count her foray in the Attack On Titan world) that she has gifted us with. Mark my words, Tear Down Heaven is the start of something special.
 
The story begins with Adrian Blackwood, a witch of the Blackwood clan who arrives in Seattle with a specific plan and for that plan to succeed, he needs a very special and determined crew. Enter Bex, the head of the only free demon crew, a diminutive and smart demon who captains Iggs, a wrath demon, Lys a lust demon and Nemini a void demon. This crew is a special one and one that keeps its own agenda. Both Adrian and Bex however share a common enemy in the Eternal King Gilgamesh who captured heaven over five millennia ago and swarmed all the hells to enslave all the demon queens & their demonish denizens. Gilgamesh hates all magic other than his own and demons are a special anathema to Heaven.
 
This is the amazing start up for Hell For Hire and a new series that absolutely promises to unleash all the sort of mayhem that we Rachel Aaron readers have come to love. With Tear Down Heaven, Rachel gives us a world that feels absolutely radical and yet quintessential Rachel Aaron. This book while having Adrian Blackwood as the main protagonist, isn’t really just about him. We also get a solid insight into Bex. Both these characters are people who are trying to do right by their loved ones but are under a tremendous amount of pressure.
 
Rachel Aaron’s characters are the biggest highlight of her stories, be it Eli Monpress or Devi, or Julian or Marci or Tina or Mary Good Crow. They are intelligent, and kind and generally good people. They are also bad asses when they need to be and can be counted upon to do what needs to be done. Rachel continues in this vein by giving us two (more) admirable folks namely Bex and Adrian. Adrian is a man who’s being hunted for reasons out of his control. He however is not looking to simply exist, he has a plan for his pursuers and all he needs is time to do what’s necessary. Bex is someone with an even bigger target on her back and the readers will have to find out why that's the case.
 
I enjoyed Adrian’s character arc but it was Bex who was the main draw for me. The revelations about both their pasts really set up a fascinating future for us readers to find out. These two are the main draw and I believe they might rival Julius & Marci for their adorable interactions. However this story is a lot darker than the Heartstrikers was. So I’m not a 100% sure how it might all end up but given that it’s a Rachel Aaron story, there will be hope and that’s something I can always count on.
 
Besides Bex, and Adrian, we also get an enthralling side character cast consisting of Boston (a magical talking cat), a talking sword and the demons (Iggs, Lys & Nemini who all have their quirks). I can only hope that this cast will be expanded upon as the series goes forward. This aspect  is very exciting as even the villains are muti-dimensional and I hope the author explores their motivations.
 
The worldbuilding in on another level. Previously with Heartstrikers, Rachel Aaron combined midwestern geography with magic, unbridled capitalism & dragons. Here we find a new world that amalgamates the Pacific northwest, Sumerian mythology, Demons and some seriously creepy (& cool) witchcraft aspects. Overall I’m thrilled to see how the author interprets Sumerian mythos within her world and how it will impact the overall saga. The author also includes her own twists on the various hells as well as witch covens. It will be intriguing to see these aspects explored in future volumes. I must highlight that the worlbuilding hinted within this series opener is seriously akin to an epic fantasy title. It is very much comparative to brilliant efforts from stalwarts such as Elizabeth Bear, Alec Hutson & Brian Staveley.
 
The pace of this story is very much like an urban fantasy and for those who have read previous Rachel Aaron titles will find plenty to love within. There’s some fantastic action sequences and for those folks who have missed the sword battles (from the Monpress books), there’s some epic action showcased and a promise for more mayhem to come. Lastly the cover of this story is another homerun by Luisa Preissler and I seriously can’t wait for this series to be finished so I can see how gorgeous all the covers look together.
 
The only complaint I had about this book was that it very much feels like a big prologue to the actual conflict that’s foreshadowed within. Let me be clear, there’s a complete story told within and the ending sets the stage perfectly for the sequel(s). But overall it felt like this was a teensy appetizer rather the complete meal (Nice Dragons Finish Last) was. For me, this story just left me wanting more than the satisfaction it provided at the end and perhaps that’s more on me than the author intended.
 
 
CONCLUSION: Hell For Hire is an absolute blast to read as it combines action, comedy, and lots of magic for a unique story. Rachel Aaron with her eighth (or ninth) series opener showcases exactly why she has no peers in the urban fantasy genre. If you want to have lots of fun, thrills and action, look no further. Hell For Hire is available to fulfill all your needs and more.


0 comments:

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

 Click Here To Order “Barnaby The Wanderer” by Raymond St. Elmo
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

 Click Here To Order “Barnaby The Wanderer” by Raymond St. Elmo
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

 Click Here To Order “Barnaby The Wanderer” by Raymond St. Elmo
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

 Click Here To Order “Barnaby The Wanderer” by Raymond St. Elmo
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

 Click Here To Order “Barnaby The Wanderer” by Raymond St. Elmo
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

 Click Here To Order “Barnaby The Wanderer” by Raymond St. Elmo
Order HERE